» Orange County Excellent Public Schools (OCEPS) Initiative

The mission of the Orange County Excellent Public Schools (OCEPS) Initiative is to increase the number of Orange County high school and college graduates and to close student achievement gaps in order to support the sustained economic growth and prosperity of OC.

In support of this mission, Chapman University's Attallah College of Educational Studies is striving to create, disseminate, and apply knowledge in order to improve the educational outcomes of underserved K-12 public school students to ensure that young people can afford to work and live in OC.


Although once one of the nation’s most powerful high‐end economies, OC’s sustainable growth is unclear. According to Joel Kotkin, RC Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University, OC has a chance to emerge as a pro‐tech hub in the coming decade. With the highest combined technology and arts concentration of any major region, the possibilities for OC’s future prosperity are great. However, with its high cost of living, there is a need for high‐wage employment growth. There is a concerted effort underway by the OC business community to address some of these problems.

At the core of these efforts is the recognition that OC needs excellent public schools. The California Department of Education data for the 2015-2016 school year shows that only 51% of OC high school students graduated with the necessary requirements to attend the state's public four-year universities. Although this number is above the the state average of 45%, it does not bode well for high‐wage employment preparation.

Thus, we need an all out effort by our local businesses, academia, government, and communities focused on excellent public schools for all of Orange County.

ePrize Awards  

OCEPS Initiative ePrize (Education Prize) awards seek to foster collaborative projects among public school districts, districts and charter schools, and community organizations that ultimately seek to improve educational outcomes, and thus career outcomes, for underserved students in Orange County. 

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ePrize Award 2

Chapman University’s Attallah College of Educational Studies, in partnership with the CEO Leadership Alliance of Orange County (CLA-OC), is working with Orange County public high school educators on innovative programs seeking to enhance and expand Work-Based Learning (WBL) opportunities for OC students.

The programs concentrate on the following high-growth industry sectors:

  • Business and Finance
  • Health Science & Medical Technology
  • Information & Communications Technologies

The focus of the 2nd ePrize is to encourage educators to work with industry on the design and implementation of scalable pilot(s) to greatly expand WBL opportunities that contribute to career trajectory pipelines for students beginning in high school and leading into community college.

Business Partners

The three winning teams will work with one or more of the three participating businesses:

  • University of California, Irvine (UCI): 2nd largest employer in the county with almost 25,000 employees
  • CHOC Children’s (CHOC): 18th largest employer in the county with almost 4,000 employees 
  • Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO): One of the Civic 50 companies in Orange County with approximately 1,300 employees

Education Prize (ePrize 2) Winners

OCEPS Initiative 2nd ePrize judging panel awarded three project ideas from a $150,000 pool of funds.

The following winning teams and proposals were announced during the 2nd ePrize on Work-Based Learning webinar on May 20, 2020:

  • Tustin Unified School District (TUSD): Summer internship course
  • Samueli Academy: Year-long Business & Finance CTE (Career Technical Education) capstone course
  • Anahiem Union High School District (AUHSD): Career pathway to prepare students to enter the healthcare workforce

All three pilot projects will serve as Work-Based Learning (WBL) program models that can be applied across district and county.

For more information about OCEPS, the ePrize 2 award, and the winning team projects, please refer to the RFP Announcement webpage and the 2020 ePrize RFP Guidelines.